First, a blog confession. I have about five blogs drafted, all with less-than-mediocre starts and the last few weeks I actually just couldn’t bring myself to complete them. I am not 100% sure why this was as I actually love writing and I have to say as I look back on 2011, one of my highlights has been starting this blog. But, I may have figured something out about myself. I like to write about my present-day real-time sometimes-crazy sometimes-smart thoughts and experiences. So instead of creating this pressure of having to write about certain topics that I already have drafted that perhaps were a good idea at the time but not anymore, I said, screw it, Ann! Write about whatever the heck you want, whenever you want! This whole blog thing is supposed to be fun and provide entertainment (if for nobody else, at least for myself). And hey, maybe even once in a while I will get a ‘like’ by a random blogger or a “Read your blog and laughed really hard…you are a great writer, Ann!” comment in my inbox or even maybe a new subscriber (I know, crazy aspirations, right?).
[blunt transition] And now, I bring to you 10 reasons why I love the Christmas season, in no particular order.
- Work slows down (and even stops completely for a couple of days) and the entire mood of my office softens, the stress levels decrease and there is a lot more laughter. It’s the only time of the year that everyone takes a vacation at the same time which means everybody benefits, my inbox has an average of 10 emails and, if you can imagine, the world still is in tact, even with C-level people out spending time with their families.
- Obliged time with friends. Okay, that sounded sort of bad. What I mean is that from Thanksgiving to New Years Day, it’s an unwritten rule among close friends that you just simply make time for each other. Intimate dinner parties, days at the spa, splurging on a new restaurant, shopping or simply just taking an hour of our days to grab coffee.
- Eating and drinking whatever I want and in whichever quantities I choose, sans the guilt. Like tonight, for example, I ordered a pizza for no apparent reason and thoroughly enjoyed all three slices.
- Giving gifts. My husband, Rick, may say I like to shop a lot and he would be fairly accurate. But here’s a secret. I absolutely love shopping for gifts for other people (don’t get me wrong, I like to buy things for myself, but buying gifts for others far trumps buying for myself). Here are a few gift-giving highlights of the season:
- Each year I buy everyone on my team a gift and usually there’s a theme. One year I did all monogram gifts (sort of cheesy now that I think about it), last year I did scarves and this year I brought them all a gift from India.
- Instead of gifts for Rick’s immediate family, we made a donation to GRIP, which is an outreach ministry for the youth in Chicago.
- I surprised my cousins yesterday and bought a book for each of them (though they could steal which is always a fun thing to watch in a family setting!)
- Rick and I chose a family who we knew were a bit strapped this year and sent them a gift card to Target so they had a little extra money to buy for their own family. That was his idea, I take no credit.
- We bought my niece, Hannah, this great DIY Van Gogh art kit from Barneys (p.s. Barney’s has the best and most unique gifts for kids, FYI.
- Christmas music. I’m obsessed. In the morning while I’m getting ready (93.9 The Lite), on my way to work (iPod Christmas playlist including Justin Bieber, Pottery Barn Christmas hits, Michael Buble, The Glee Christmas albums and more awesomeness), at work (Pandora pop Christmas playlist…ridiculous) and at night, usually a combo of radio, iPhone and Internet.
- Snow. There’s something nostalgic, romantic and heart-warming about snow during the holiday season. I actually don’t think I could live in a warmer climate for this very reason. The changing of the seasons and varying weather in the Midwest is truly, I believe, one of the selling points of living here. Hey, negative 30 windchill isn’t so bad, is it?!
- Vicini Family Christmas. Honestly, December 25 carries so much meaning and amazing memories for me (ahem, Santa Claus) and year after year I am reminded of what a blessing it is to have a loving, healthy family. My aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, all under one roof, eating, drinking, laughing. What could be better? Oh, yeah, eating our annual Italian feast of ravioli and tortellini…icing on the cake. Ask anyone in my family and they will agree…we LIVE for that meal thanks to Great Grandpa Al, Great Grandma Anne, Grandpa Wally and Grandma Betty.
- Reflection and excitement for the new year. Totally cliché, I know, but I always commit to taking time to look back and look ahead
- Social media is on a 24/7 positivity marathon. Seriously. Everyone is posting all kinds of adorable and cheesy pictures of their kids on Facebook, there’s always a funny video of a dog dressed up like an elf or something, everyone is wishing their 4,000 close friends a Merry Christmas, there’s awesome social good tweets from celebrities sharing their POV on giving back during the holiday season, it’s really sweet.
- Happy Birthday Jesus! As a Christian, the holidays truly hold one significant purpose which is the birth of Jesus. The hope that gives everyone, the reminder of new life and the true Christmas miracle is the greatest gift of all!
- The best Christmas movie ever made, Elf. Okay, I know my headline said 10 reasons but I couldn’t leave this one out. And for a quick laugh, check out this clip, one of my favorite scenes of the movie.
Cheers to a merry holiday season and a happy, healthy 2012 🙂